Jaguar starts making new Wolverhampton-powered XE saloon
Jaguar Land Rover has officially launched production of its new Wolverhampton-powered XE saloon, creating £4 billion of work for companies across the UK.
It will also mean full scale production at the JLR engine plant on the outskirts of Wolverhampton as it churns out the Ingenium four cylinder diesels that will power the first of the new Jaguar XEs as they roll off the production line.
The £500 million factory on the i54 site will make diesel engines for the first XEs, and later this year for the new Land Rover Discovery Sport, before starting to make engines for the F-Pace Jaguar crossover due to be launched later this year.
The factory is due to start production of petrol engines by the end of this year or early in 2016.
JLR announced last year it was taking on around 200 more people as it geared up for engine production, while Synchreon, which handles the components coming into the factory, is also taking on around 200 this year.
Eventually 1,500 people will work at the factory.
Production of the new aluminium bodied saloon car at Solihull is crucial to the engine plant and for JLR, which has built a 'factory within a factory' to make it.
Another 1,300 are being recruited to work at Solihull, as part of £2 billion of investment. And the company has recently announced another £650m of investment in the West Midlands, including expanding the existing Jaguar factory at Castle Bromwich.
The XE is the first Jaguar ever built at Solihull, which normally produces Land Rovers and Range Rovers, and 55 per cent of the components in the new car will come from 55 UK-based suppliers who have won contracts from JLR worth £4 billion.
JLR purchasing director Ian Harnett said "Jaguar Land Rover is one of the UK's success stories, not simply because it has seen an upsurge in demand thanks to sustained investment, but because it has been able to support a burgeoning, high-tech, highly skilled supply base here in the UK.
"With each successive new or upgraded model, we are seeing the positive impact felt amongst the entire automotive sector which is great news for everyone committed to ensuring the UK remains truly competitive on a global stage."
Among the big winners are Rugby-based Automotive Insulations, which has invested in 65,000 sq ft of premises to accommodate its expanding workforce in preparation to supply the Jaguar XE, and Birmingham based Sertec which has spent £15 million on new presses, robotics and site upgrades, mostly at its Tyseley plant, creating 107 new jobs.
Among those marking the start of production at Solihull yesterday were legendary British motor racing driver Sir Stirling Moss, Jaguar's highly-regarded test driver Norman Dewis and Land Rover aficionado Quentin Willson.
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